DIY Tear Off Notepads

DIY Tear Off Notepads

Around here we are pretty serious about paper. It seems as if we never have enough! Like most families, we love to have notepads handy to make lists, doodle, and to jot down ideas. Although my children are just beginning to write, they love to practice their letters and are constantly asking for page after page. I recently learned how simple it is to make your own bound notepads with easy to tear off sheets. I decided it was time to add a few to our art and writing center so my girls would always have the tools they need when inspiration strikes.

These notepads can be made in any size and it only takes about an hour to make a whole batch of them. The best part though, is the option to customize the cover, especially for little ones.

DIY Tear Off Notepads

To make one notepad you will need to gather:

  • 25 pieces of card stock cut to desired size (we used two sizes: standard letter 8 1/2″  x 11″ and A2 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ which you can buy without the need to cut)
  • 1 piece of chipboard cut to the same size
  • 1 piece of watercolor paper in same size
  • Watercolor paints/paintbrush
  • Paintbrush or Foam Applicator
  • PVA Glue or Padding Compound
  • Rubber band or binder clips
  • A heavy book

DIY Tear Off Notepad

Step One: Make a beautiful cover for your notepad. Use watercolor paints to decorate your piece of water color paper. Allow your design to dry fully before moving to the next step.

DIY Tear Off Notepads

Step Two: Stack your notepad. Chipboard goes on the bottom, then your card stock, then the cover. Line edges up by tapping the top edges on a hard surface. Use a rubber band to hold pages in line (for larger designs, you may need a binder clip instead).

DIY Tear Off Notepad

Step Three: Line the top of your notepad up with the edge of a table or other hard surface and hang slightly over the edge so your notepad will not stick to your table (we learned our lesson after this photo was taken!). Stack a heavy book on top of notepad to ensure the pages stay in place. Paint a coat of PVA or Padding Compound along the edge of notepad, making sure to cover the entire surface. Allow to dry and apply 1-2 more coats. Once your final coat is dry, you are ready to use your notepad! If you’ve done a good job gluing and are careful when tearing pages out, your cover should stay in place.

Now that we’ve made a nice stack of these, I’ve been thinking of all the ways you could use them. I think they would make a lovely gift for a teacher or a Grandparent. You could also personalize each page by choosing to print a monogram or message on each piece of card stock before binding the notepad. You could even use this idea to make fun flip books with your children. How would you personalize your notepad?


Randi Edwards is a regular contributor to Playful Learning, who specializes in crafts for kids. She also manages our wonderful contributors and helps to make this a beautiful place with a little design magic. She puts her passion for daydreaming to work over at her blog, Swoon where she shares ideas, original projects, and favorite things. She loves to laugh and considers herself a lifelong student. She lives in Seattle with her husband and three young children, and strives to make her home a beautiful, playful, and accessible place to grow up.



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    1. Hi Jen! I got my glue at Paper Source, but I think you can find PVA at a lot of craft stores. If you can’t find it in a store, you can order it online for less than $10 (there’s an Amazon link in the materials list of the post). Good luck!

  1. This is such a lovely idea! My little one is just getting into watercolors, and I could use some pretty office supplies 🙂 Do you think Mod Podge could be substituted for the PVA glue? I don’t mind an extra trip to Paper Source, that’s just what I happen to have on hand!

  2. So glad to know the details of this process. We used to scan in my daughter’s drawings (b+w with felt pen are perfect) and have pads made at Kinkos. Made perfect holiday gifts.

    I have that same art book…from my years of art history at Auburn.

  3. Will this process work with regular-weight paper? I’ve been trying to find a neat way to use recycle-able paper for notes and this seems a perfect solution to tidy up my desk.

    1. I haven’t tried it Michele, but it seems like it would work. I would just make sure the edges of the paper are lined up perfectly, which might be a little more challenging with a thinner paper, but I say give it a try!

  4. Oh my, those notepads are adorable!!!! I love the idea of using those water colors on the pads. They are like watermarks when it dried up. It is just essential that you know how to choose the right colors and the right amount of colors to put on the paper. I am so in love with this idea. Thank you so much for sharing this, Randi.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas!! It is really fun to make your own notepads because you can choose your own designs. Using those water colors are so lovely. I’d be so happy to try this one as well.

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